Binghams of Felbridge & The Bingham Diary

Binghams of Felbridge & The Bingham Diary

The Bingham family have lived in the area for at least eleven generations; however, it was around 1854 that the first Bingham family settled in Felbridge, and descendents of this family still live in the village. The name ‘Bingham’ is first mentioned in 1175 in the Pipe Roles of Nottinghamshire with William de Bingeham, Bingham being a town near Nottingham, although today the biggest concentration of Binghams is to be found in Kent. This handout outlines where the Felbridge Bingham family originated from, why a branch of the family moved to Felbridge and details the lives of some of the Binghams who lived and worked in Felbridge. Like all family history research, this document is not the definitive history of the family and there are many other sources still available to add further information. Any additional details provided as a result of this publication will be added to the material held by the history group.

The Bingham family became established in Felbridge with the arrival of Henry Bingham in 1854, shortly before George Gatty of Crowhurst Place purchased the Felbridge Place estate from descendants of the Evelyn family. Henry was the descent of John Bingham who had married Elizabeth Tuffen on 9th June 1678 in Ardingly (Henry’s great, great, great, grandparents). Their son John was born in Ardingly but married Anne Best in Maresfield in 1708 and then settled in West Hoathly. Their children were all baptised in Horsted Keynes and it is through the line of their son John that the Felbridge branch descend. John was born c1712 and baptised on 19th July 1712 at West Hoathly, he married Elizabeth Forner on 8th May 1735 at Horsted Keynes where Allen was born c1742 and baptised on 28th March. Allen Bingham married Sarah Illman on 23rd April 1764 at St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes. Little is known about this couple other than Allen was listed as the owner of Millen Mead, in West Hoathly in 1785 and that they had at least six children, their son William being the father of Henry Bingham. William Bingham was christened at St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes on 6th July 1777, and married Ann Ellis on 22nd January 1799, at St Margaret’s Church, West Hoathly. William and Ann had twelve children, Henry being the ninth child and fifth son. His siblings include, John born in 1799, Ann born in 1801, William born in 1804, Martha born in 1806, Joseph born in 1808, Mary born in 1810, Thomas born in 1812, Elizabeth born in 1814, Harriet born in 1820, George born in 1823 and Jane born in 1826. An elderly descendent of Joseph recorded that the children were all born in West Hoathly but were christened at St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes.

Much is documented about William Bingham. In 1827, he took out a lease on Westland Farm, which is located in Broadhurst Manor Road, on the Horsted Keynes side of West Hoathly. By 1834, William was renting Bunch Grove Farm, (Birch Grove Farm), now known as Porches Farm, situated on the Chelwood Gate - Horsted Keynes road, near the home of Britain’s former Prime Minister Sir Harold McMillan at Birch Grove. In 1841, William was living at a cottage known as Late Devalls, now known as West Watch, also situated on the Chelwood Gate-Horsted Keynes road, although by 1841, William had changed occupations and was by then a grocer and draper. Living with him was his eldest son, John, who was plying the trade of a shoemaker, although most of John’s children later went on to become agricultural labourers at Killicks Farm, Tickerage or Legsheath. By 1851, William was living with his fourth son, Thomas, at Stone House Farm in Forest Row, William’s occupation being listed as Retired Farmer, although in 1852 he was recorded as Yeoman of Forest Row. Thomas, originally lived at Pixton Lodge in Forest Row, and was a builder, but by 1851 he was living at Stone House Farm and farming sixty-six acres.

William died in 1855 and by 1861 Thomas was a farm agent for Samuel Statham who had purchased Stone House, which included Stone House Farm and Stone House Park. By 1867, Thomas had become the miller at Sheffield Mill in Fletching, and by 1881 he had retired and was living with his son William who was a corn dealer and master miller, living at South View, Crowborough, Sussex. Also living with William was his uncle George, the sixth and last son of William and Ann Bingham, and youngest brother of Henry. George had trained as a carpenter, and in 1851 was living with his brother Thomas at Stone House Farm before taking lodgings at Moors Cottage, Forest Row by 1861. By 1881George had retired from milling and was living with his nephew William, (son of his brother Thomas), implying that he may have worked with his nephew William, the master miller, and possibly also with his brother Thomas at Sheffield Mill. Milling seems a fairly common occupation within the Bingham family at that time, as another William Bingham, a nephew of the William (1777-1855), was also a miller in 1861, living in Queensborough Cottages, Forest Row, a short distance from Stone House Farm where William had been living before his death in 1855. There is also a son of Henry Bingham recorded living at Hedgecourt mill in Felbridge in 1881.

Whilst many of the children of William and Ann Bingham remained in the Horsted Keynes area, their third son, Joseph, moved to the Brighton area and his son George and family emigrated to Brisbane, Australia, in the 1860’s, where there are Bingham descendants to this day. Another branch of William Bingham’s family can be found in Michigan, America, descended from his sister Philadelphia who married Edward Scott in 1804. Indeed, descendants from William’s eldest brother Alan can be found in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec in Canada, through his son, (William’s nephew) William, (the miller of Queensborough Cottages, Forest Row), but that’s another story! It was William and Anne’s fifth son, Henry, who eventually settled in Felbridge, establishing a branch of the Bingham family, which still has descendants living here to this day.

Henry Bingham
Henry was born in the Horsted Keynes/West Hoathly area, the fifth son and ninth child of William and Ann Bingham, and was christened on 16th March 1817, at St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes. At the age of ten Henry was living with his family at Westland Farm, Broadhurst Manor Road, on the Horsted Keynes side of West Hoathly. On 16th July 1837, at the age of twenty, Henry married Mary Ann Ferguson at St Margaret’s Church, West Hoathly, and Henry’s occupation was given as a farmer of West Hoathly, possibly working with his father who, by 1837, was farming at Birch Grove Farm near Chelwood Gate. Mary Ann Ferguson was born in 1816 in Sevenoaks, Kent, but was living in West Hoathly at the time of their marriage. Henry and Mary Ann had at least nine children, William Ferguson born in 1838, Rose Anna born in 1840, Henry Ferguson born in 1843, Albert Thomas Ferguson born in 1846, Emily Jane born in 1849, Agnes Ellis born in 1851, Eliza born 1854, Mary Ann born 1859 and Allen Walter born in 1861.

Henry and Mary Ann lived with Henry’s parents and several of Henry’s siblings at Late Devalls, now West Watch, on the Chelwood Gate-Horsted Keynes road until around 1841, with their children William Ferguson, Rose Anna and Henry Ferguson all recorded as born in West Hoathly. However, by 1846, Henry and his family had moved to Lewes in Sussex, where Albert Thomas Ferguson and Emily Jane were both born. Some time between October 1848 and March 1851 the family moved to Five Ash Down near Buxted in Sussex, where their sixth child, Agnes Ellis was born. Whilst at Five Ash Down, Henry worked as an agricultural labourer, but exactly where has yet to be determined. The family only stayed at Five Ash Down for a short period of time before moving to Felbridge sometime between March 1851 and October 1854. The move to Felbridge established the Bingham family in the village, where they were to remain for six further generations.

Henry Bingham joined the work force on the Felbridge Place estate, which was still under the ownership of descendants of the Evelyn family at the time of his arrival but was bought by the Gatty family in 1855. An early reference to Henry Bingham in Felbridge is found in the Account Book of George Gatty, dated 3rd January 1856. George Gatty notes that ‘Bingham told me that Lemon [a cow] had given 11 quarts of milk (rather more) daily, for the last 3 days when he had measured it’. The Account Book mentions all the milk cows by name suggesting that these were cows from the Home Farm herd and that Henry Bingham was probably working at the Home Farm.

Shortly after their arrival Henry and Mary Ann had Eliza, born on 18th October 1854, followed by Mary Ann born in 1859 and their last child, Allen Walter, born in Felbridge but baptised in St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes on 19th May 1861.

By 1871, Henry was listed as farm bailiff and was living at Felbridge Park Lodge, the north lodge to the estate on the main London Road. As farm bailiff, Henry was an officer of George Gatty as lord of the manor, and later his son Charles Henry Gatty, responsible for the management and day to day running of the Home Farm and the farmland of the Felbridge Place estate, which amounted to about 1,000 acres. As well as being the farm bailiff he was also the Parish Clerk for Rev. Thorp. The Parish Clerk was the keeper of the parish records and would also have other parish duties, which in Felbridge included administering relief to the needy of the parish under the terms of the Beef and Faggot Charity founded by James Evelyn. [Further details can be found in Fact Sheet ‘The Beef and Faggot Charity’ SJC03/03].

Henry’s wife, Mary Ann, died on 13th October 1895, aged seventy-nine years and was buried at St John’s Church, Felbridge, in plot C1. 66-73. Henry lived on until 20th March 1900, and died aged eighty-three years, joining his wife in the family plot. During his life in Felbridge, Henry would have been a pillar of the community, working closely with the lord of the manor and the vicar. Several of his children went to Felbridge School and many stayed in Felbridge working for the Gatty family, with possible exceptions of daughters Rose Anna, Agnes Ellis and Mary Ann, and eldest son William Ferguson. As for Rose, Agnes and Mary, little information has yet come to light on them, as marriage would incur a change in the Bingham surname making them difficult to trace, and records on the life of William Ferguson have also proved elusive. However, the remaining two daughters and three sons all have well documented lives.

Henry Ferguson Bingham
Henry Ferguson was the second son and third child of Henry and Mary Ann, and was baptised at St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes on 17th September 1843. Initially Henry Ferguson may have worked with his father on the land but evidence suggests that he later trained as a carpenter. Henry Ferguson was probably living with his parents at Five Ash Down, or near them, when they moved to the Felbridge Place estate around 1854. In 1866, Henry Ferguson married Susannah Hooker who was born in Brighton in 1843. They married in the Godstone Registration District and although St John’s Church, Felbridge, was open by 1866, they do not appear in the marriage register.

Henry and Susannah had at least three children, Emily Jane ‘Edith’ born about 1868, Alfred Ernest born in 1871 and Kate born on 12th June 1876. Sadly Kate only lived for six days and was buried at St John’s Church on 21st June, plot unknown. At the time of Kate’s birth, Henry Ferguson was working as a carpenter on the Felbridge estate.

In 1881, Henry and Susannah were living at Chestnut Trees, Hedgecourt Road, Felbridge, in the parish of Horne. It appears that Chestnut Trees was a specific location in Felbridge, at the end of the row of chestnut trees along the track leading to Crawley Down across Hedgecourt common. For the location to be Hedgecourt Road, and from the number of dwellings listed in the census, it would appear that Henry and Susannah were living in the first property in Rowplatt Lane in the parish of Horne, this property is now called Lyric Cottage. By 1899, Henry Ferguson was listed as a joiner rather than a carpenter and by 1901 had moved from Chestnut Trees, Hedgecourt Road to a cottage next to Hedgecourt Mill, probably one of the cottages in the mill house, still working as a carpenter. Henry Ferguson died at North End, Felbridge, in July 1909, aged sixty-five, and was buried at St John’s Church in plot no. C1. 62. Susannah lived on until June 1932, when she died aged of eighty-four at Elmsleigh Cottage, Send in Surrey. Susannah was also buried at St John’s Church but in plot no. C1. 65. The two surviving children, Emily Jane ‘Edith’ and Alfred Ernest both married and had families.

Emily Jane ‘Edith’ Bingham was the first child of Henry and Susannah, born about 1868 in Felbridge, and married Benjamin Sargent in January 1894 in the Reigate Registration District. Benjamin was born in Coulsdon, Surrey, in 1871 and was a master bricklayer by trade. Emily and Benjamin had three children, Beatrice Mary born on 30th September 1896, Frederick Ernest born on 22nd July 1897 and Mabel born about 1901. Frederick married Ada Lillian and they had Elsie, Beatrice and Louis, a daughter of Elsie’s, Jean, still lives in the village with her husband Bert Fox at Chapel Cottages, Crawley Down Road, she is the fourth generation of her family to live there.

Alfred Ernest Bingham was the second child and only son of Henry and Susannah, born in 1871 in Felbridge, and married Elizabeth Reeves on 18th November 1899, at St John’s Church. Elizabeth was born in 1868. Alfred, known as Ernie, was a coachman and worked for Rev Thorp at the vicarage, and Elizabeth worked as the housekeeper. By February 1901, Ernie and Elizabeth had moved to North End, Felbridge, where Florence Ethel, one of their daughters was born. They also had two other daughters, Edie and Winifred, but little else is known about the family except that at some time Ernie bought Chapel Cottages.

Albert Thomas Ferguson Bingham
Albert Thomas was the third son and fourth child of Henry and Mary Ann Bingham, and moved with his parents from Five Ash Down to the Felbridge estate around 1854, aged about eight years. Albert would have attended Felbridge School and by the age of fifteen in 1861, was living and working as a butcher’s boy with the butcher in the High Street in East Grinstead, however, within ten years Albert had retrained as a carpenter.

In 1879, Albert married Henrietta Mary Hughes, in the Godstone Registration District. Henrietta was born in Marsh Gibbon, Buckingham, in 1856. Albert and Henrietta had three children, Ethel Ettie born in June 1879, Beatrice Florence born in 1881 and Leslie Albert born in 1884. Sadly Ethel died within four months and Leslie died within two months, both buried at St John’s Church. In 1881, Albert, Henrietta and Beatrice were living at Hedgecourt Mill House, Albert working as a carpenter and joiner and it was here that Leslie was born in 1884. Sadly, in 1896, Henrietta died at the age of only forty and was buried at St John’s in plot no. C1. 75-82. By 1901, Albert was living with his surviving daughter, Beatrice, at No.2 Fir Tree Cottage, Crawley Down Road, and was working as an estate carpenter and joiner for the Gatty family. Albert died on 29th December 1901 and was buried with his wife at St John’s on 3rd January 1902.

Beatrice married Percy John Killick on October 1902 at St John’s Church. Percy was born in Felbridge in 1878, the son of John Killick the gamekeeper on the Felbridge Place estate and his wife Amelia. At the time of his marriage, Percy was a chemist’s assistant in Southampton, Beatrice leaving the Felbridge area and settling in Southampton.

Emily Jane Bingham
Emily Jane was born in Lewes in 1848, the second daughter and fifth child of Henry and Mary Ann; sadly her life was cut short at the age of only nineteen when she died in January 1868. She was buried at St John’s Church, Felbridge, and Frances Gatty, the widow of George Gatty and owner of Felbridge Place, had her headstone erected. [For further details see Fact Sheet, Memorial Carvings and statues a of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02iv]. The inscription on the headstone reads: ‘This stone was erected as a tribute of regard by Frances Gatty of Felbridge Place’, implying that Emily may have been in the employ of the Gatty family or at least close to Frances Gatty.

Eliza Bingham
Eliza was the third daughter and seventh child of Henry and Mary Ann and was born in Felbridge in October 1854, no details about her christening are known as St John’s Church had not been built by that date. At the age of twenty-four, Eliza married William Gilmore on 28th May 1878, at Portsea Island, Hampshire. William Gilmore (known as Bill), was born in Petersfield, Hampshire in 1855 and at the time of their marriage was working as a gardener. It would appear that Eliza and William set up home in Oving near Chichester in Sussex, as in 1881 they were living at 19 Shopwyke Road, Oving, and their first child Margaret M (known as Maggie) was born in Oving in 1880, followed by Ethel Ada in February 1881. Some time between 1881 and 1891, Eliza and William had emigrated to America, settling at Holmes Farm in Franklin, Virginia, and it is this family that Allen Walter and his wife Nell visited in 1892, which resulted in the ‘Bingham Diary’, an account of their trip, [full details to follow]. The reason behind their emigration is unknown, and it is unclear how many children Eliza and William went on to have, except that from the diary there is a reference to ‘baby Winnie’ implying that they had at least one more daughter called Winifred born shortly before Allen and Nell’s arrival in October 1892.

Allen Walter Bingham
Allen Walter was the last child of Henry and Mary Ann Bingham and was born in Felbridge in 1861, and because St John’s Church had still not been built in Felbridge by this date, Allen was baptised in Horsted Keynes on 19th May 1861. After attending Felbridge School, Allen trained as a carpenter, working for most of his life as the estate carpenter for the Gatty family of Felbridge Place, as well as taking commissions from members of the Felbridge community. Two examples of his work that lasted until quite recently were the large wooden gates at both entrances to Felbridge Place, one from the London Road and the other from Copthorne Road. The latter gate, although badly rotted, was still in use in 1999. By that time the responsibility of the gate and footpath belonged to the Felbridge Parish Council who decided to replace the gate with a commissioned replica, using the original designs and ironwork of Allen Bingham’s gate.

At the age of twenty-seven, Allen married Ellen Harriette Holman (known as Nell), at St John’s Church, Felbridge, on 29th November 1888. Nell was born in 1868, the daughter of Edward and Anne Holman. Edward Holman was born in Turners Hill and was a bricklayer by trade, and Anne was a daughter of Thomas and Harriett Gorringe who lived at Mount House Farm in Snow Hill before moving to Felcot Farm in Furnace Wood. By 1881 Harriett Gorringe had died, and Anne and Edward Holman and their family were living with Thomas Gorringe at Felcot Farm, Edward listed as a farmer and bricklayer. Whilst at Felcot Farm, it was said that someone from Nell’s family hid two gold sovereigns up the chimney for safe keeping, these were found, many years later, when the property was purchased by Ken Housman.

Allen and Nell had five children, Hilda May born on 17th October 1893, Alec Henry born on 22nd February 1896, Edward Harold born on 22nd March 1898, Raymond born on 18th June 1901 and Edith born in 1907, all of who remained in the Felbridge area.

It is known that Allen suffered from asthma and in 1892, Charles Henry Gatty, by then head of the Gatty family, offered to pay for Allen and Nell to go out to America to visit Allen’s sister Eliza and her family who were living at Franklin, Virginia. The hope was that the change of air would improve Allen’s condition. Allen decided to keep a diary of his trip, starting on 1st October 1892 with the purchase of a small, brown notebook from Henry Heazell, Bookseller, Stationer & c. of 66, London Road, Liverpool. The diary is a complete record of the voyage out to America and journey to their destination of Holmes Farm, near Franklin, on the edge of Southampton County, adjacent to the Isle of Wight County in the State of Virginia.

Allen detailed everything they saw and experienced in America, commenting on the American way of life and the differences between both cultures. Allen and Nell stayed with his sister Eliza until 29th March 1893, and arrived back in England on April 7th/8th 1893. It is evident from the diary that Allen and Ellen moved into a house shortly after their return to Felbridge as there is an entry dated Tuesday 23rd May 1893: ‘Started to clean the house bottom of Chestnut trees, ready to move our goods in some time this week’. From other Bingham documentation this cottage was called Chestnut Cottage, being situated in Crawley Down Road, next to Gulledge Farm Cottage, now Vine Cottage. Chestnut Cottage was one of the pair of red brick villas built on the Crawley Down Road opposite the end of Rowplatt Lane. In the sale catalogue of 1911 these were described as:
A Capital pair of Modern Freehold Cottages with large gardens, covering an area of about 1 rood 10 perch. Each house contains Three Bedrooms, Boxroom, Sitting Room with modern stove, Kitchen with range, Scullery, Outside Wood Lodge and WC. Well with pump to each cottage.’
A note at the bottom stated ‘Let on Weekly Tenancies at very inadequate Rents.’

It is also evident that the change of air in America did not cure Allen’s asthma, although from another entry in the back of the diary he had obviously found some medicine that relieved the symptoms whilst he was out in America as he wrote on 12th April 1893: ‘Received a letter from Dr Graydon saying that he could send me more medicine for $10 from Cincinnati to Felbridge, he does not know what facilities they have in Brompton for sending his Andral Broca Medicines’. Allen wrote later, on 9th June: ‘Sent a letter and ten dollars for four months medicines, to Dr T W Graydon’.

Dr Thomas William Graydon was a prominent and successful member of the medical fraternity of Cincinnati in Ohio. He was born in Farmanagh, Ireland, on 19th May 1850, and at the age of eighteen emigrated to Rock Island, Illinois, America, where he completed his education enabling him to become a physician. In 1875, he moved to Cincinnati where he pursued his professional studies, after which he established himself in general practice. Advertisements of the time suggest that the bottles of ‘Andral Broca Medicines’ that Allen sent for were bottles of ‘lung cure medicine’, considered a ‘classic cure for TB consumption’. Dr Graydon also produced an inhaler, but there is no mention of this in Allen’s dairy. Seven years after Allen sent for the bottles of medicine, Dr Graydon died at the relatively young age of fifty in 1900.

The back half of the diary is a log of the work that Allen completed over the next three years; the last entry is dated 6th February 1896 which is for sharpening and setting two hand saws for Rev. J Thorp at the cost of 8d. After this entry Allen wrote ‘Entered in New Pocket Book’. Below are a few extracts from the back half of the diary indicating the type of work he was carrying out and for whom.

The work log starts ‘13 Ewes and 13 lambs, cost price £44. 4 shillings’ – ‘Rogers from Swainson’, however it is not clear whether Allen was buying or selling, or just making a note of the cost. The next page is dated 4th June 1894, and refers to orders for various wood products:
14 bundles of stakes and 25 Fence poles for Mr W Young [Newchapel]
4 hundred kiln faggots ordered by Mr Smeed of Gate House Farm
200 kiln faggots ordered by Mrs Wilson
200 kiln faggots ordered by Mr Buckland (Sweep).
Between 3rd and 9th July, Allen records that he made shutters for Rev Thorp. The shutters took 23 ½ hours to make at 6½ d per hour, a total of 12s. 8 ½. The work included making the wooden shutters, fixing, staining and varnishing them, painting the shutter bars and fixing the shutter bars in the drawing room.

There are numerous references to work for Rev Thorp, although not always in the carpentry line. On 30th July 1895, Allen delivered ‘1 Gallon of seed potatoes – Ash Leaf Kidneys’ to Rev Thorp at the cost of 6 pence, and on 7th August helped to ‘get tables and stools etc. for the School treat to Rev Thorp’s field’ for which he was paid 1s 1d. Also on the same day, Allen put ‘fencing wire round Rev J Thorp’s haystack to keep Barron’s horses from it. Rev Thorp says he will pay 1s 6d’!

At the end of August, Allen made four name boards, three were 22 inches long and 8 inches wide with ‘beaded edges and scalloped at ends’, and the fourth, which has a diagram with Dr Gatty written as the name on the board, was 2 feet long and 7 inches wide. The next entry dated 27th August refers to work done for Mr W Humphrey, ‘for making and finding Elm board and fixing some on wagons (as Name Boards)’. Allen also repaired two wheels for Mr Humphrey and made a timber soil tank for him at Sandy Lane, Crawley Down. The bill for the soil tank amounted to £1. 5s. 8d.

Two out of place entries dated for the previous year follows the Humphrey entries:
29th August 1894
At Father’s,
Pianoforte, Music Case, Case of Birds, Bed, Velvet Chair, Rug,
31st August 1894
Sent off to Bartons from the Albion 3 Dozen empty bottles, took to father’s 2 Bottle Baskets, ½ dozen Bottles of Stout, 9 Bottles of Brandy, 5 Bottles of Sherry.
There is no mention as to the use of all these bottles, although it was the year that Hilda, Allen’s first child was born, perhaps the Binghams had a celebratory party for the christening.

The Pocket Book resumes in October 1895 with diagrams, measurements, and ash and elm requirements for a wheelbarrow for Rev Thorp, followed by repairing the roof of Rev Thorp’s chicken house and putting oil on it. Allen also spent many hours at the sawing horse interspersed with working on the Thorp wheelbarrow. There is an entry on 24th December that states ‘1/- paid for turkey’. This is followed on 30th December by a list of items ‘Wanted for self at E Grinstead’
International, ½ lb butter – 8d
International, ½ lb tea – 8d
Mutton from Avery’s 1s. 8d
Cella A – 4d
At the bottom of the page and undated is another list:
½ lb tea 6
Packet Matches 2
1lb Candles 4 ½
Paid 1.0 ½
The materials required to make a Green House for Mr Daws followed the list of household requirements. The next entry, dated 17th January 1896, refers to Allen ‘helping to fit a Christmas Tree in Felbridge School Room, fetching steps from the vicarage and lying oranges on the tree and Bon Bonns, etc’. This entry suggests that the school must have been closed over the Christmas period and that on their return, the children were going to enjoy Christmas festivities provided by Rev Thorp. Allen was back at the School on 31st January when he spent 3 hours putting up a platform in the School for a concert and fetching a piano from the vicarage. The next day Allen returned the piano and dismantled the platform. At the bottom of the page is written: ‘Received 3/- for the lot instead of 4/0½’. The next entry is followed by ‘Entered in New Pocket Book’, but turning the book upside down and starting from the back are more notes, diagrams, measurements, etc. The first entry is for ‘preparing a Table Bench for Mr Daws Bake House’ and is dated 28th February but does not state which year.

For most of April of that year Allen was working for Rev Thorp, on Tuesday 17th April there is an entry for making oak cleats for ‘Racket Bats’ and fixing deal partitions in a ‘Music Box’, then in June he made a ‘Bee Box’ and ‘Fixed a shelf and looking glass on the landing for Rev Thorp’. The entry for 18th June states:
Received of Mr A Daws, Grocer, Draper, Baker etc. of Felbridge the sum of 16/6 for Dough Trough’.
This was followed by:
Laid out at Daws Shop on same day 2 . 3 ½ on Bacon, Tobacco, Salmon, Rope, Ale and Sweets.
There are several entries of purchases for both work and the home that follow. These give an idea of the sort of Bingham household requirements (plus a few luxuries), and the names of the shops from which these items were bought:
Oct. 12th, Bought of Mr Rice, Garlands Road, E Grinstead, 9 feet of 11 x ⅜ inch board.
Nov. 1st, Bought of Mr Daws ½ Gallon Maize @ 3d.
Nov. 11th, ½ Gallon Maize @ 3d
Nov. 18th, ½ Gallon Maize @ 3d
Nov. 27th, one Bushel Maize 3.3
Dec. 18th, Bought of Mr Best ¼ ton Coal 6/-, 14 Packets of Corn for Chicken, Paid 1/-.
Jan. 14th, Bought of Mr Rice 8 feet of 11 x 1 ¼ at 3d per foot, and 17 feet of 9 x 1 at 2d per foot, 2s. 10d.
Bridglands 4 ½ file and shilling ruler, Paid 1s. 4d.
Jan. 17th, Wanted from International, 1 Packet 8" Wax Candles, ½ lb 16 penny Tea, 1 lb 14 penny Salt Butter, 1 Packet Matches.
Mr Allworks, 1 Bottle 2/- Gin.
Wanted at Dixons 2 Cakes of Pears Soap 1s 1d, 3 or 4 Powders for Children.
Feb. 6th, Wanted at E Grinstead 3d. Glues, 2/- Bottle Gin, ½ lb 1/3 Tea, ½ lb ½ Butter, 1 Bottle Yorkshire Rellish.
1 Packet Black Edge Envelopes / Agnes.

The entries in the back of the Diary give an insight into the life that Allen and his family lived and the names of some of the people that lived in the Felbridge area at the end of the 19th century, along with their occupations.

Allen and Nell remained at Chestnut Cottage for most of their lives and their children all went to Felbridge School. Unfortunately, the dates of death for Allen Bingham and his wife Nell have not yet been established and neither have their final resting places.

Hilda May, the first child of Allen and Nell, married Charles Baker, known as Charlie. They lived in Cantelupe Road, East Grinstead and had a large family. Alec, the eldest son of Allen and Nell, fought in World War I and sadly lost his life at the age of twenty-one, fighting with the 12th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment in Belgium in April 1917. [Further details can be found in Fact Sheet War Memorials of St John the Divine, SJC 07/02v.] Edith, their second daughter and fourth child, married Bert May and lived in King George’s Avenue in East Grinstead. They only had one child, who they named Valerie.

Raymond the last child of Allen and Nell was too young to fight in World War I, and after leaving school, through dubious circumstances, started his working life as a gardener. The story about leaving school, as relayed by Raymond, is that he was larking about in the bushes at Felbridge School and threw a stone that hit the teacher, he ran off, not wishing to get into trouble, and never went back to school. In October 1919, at the age of 18 years and 62 days, Raymond joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Hand. Raymond was declared fit for service in August 1919, but less than a year later he was declared ‘No longer physically fit for War Service’ and was discharged on 15th May 1920, having served just 273 days, (the precise details appearing on his discharge paper). The discharge paper also describes him as ‘good of character’, 5ft 5ins tall, with brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion, having a chest measurement of 31ins. When Raymond left the Royal Air Force, he took up employment as a carpenter with one of the building firms in East Grinstead, marrying a lady called Elsie but had no family. Of the five children that Allen and Nell had, only Edward had children that carried the Bingham name down to the present day.

Edward Harold, the second son and third child of Allen and Nell, was known as Ted. He was born on 22nd March 1898, and was only sixteen when World War I broke out and as such joined the war later; fortunately he survived and returned to Felbridge. Ted married Doris Grace Sinden (known as Grace), and they had three boys, Alan born in 1927, Roy Edward born in 1938 and Douglas born in 1940.

Grace was born in November 1903 at the Police House in Haywards Heath, Sussex, where her father, Jonah John Sinden (known as John), worked as the local policeman. The Sinden family moved to 16 North End, Felbridge, when John Sinden was made the local policeman for the area. Whilst living at North End, Grace and her two brothers and two sisters, attended North End School. The Sinden family lived there until the end of World War I when John Sinden purchased a large piece of the Felbridge Place estate and erected Beechwood, Crawley Down Road. The Sinden family formed an integral part of the development of Felbridge after the break up and sale of the Felbridge Place estate, particularly along the Crawley Down Road, and as such will be covered in more depth in the future.

Ted and Grace married in 1927 and lived for a short time at One Oak, in Rowplatt Lane before moving to Wilbess in Furnace Farm Road, Furnace Wood in Felbridge, where Alan was born in 1927. Ted and Grace then viewed a plot of land in Felcot Road, Furnace Wood, and Grace remarked that it looked like a little ‘green hollow’, this then became the chosen name for the couple’s new bungalow to be built there, which remained in the Bingham family until the late 1990’s.

Ted worked for Smith & Adsett the butchers at The Parade, Felbridge, and delivered the meat rounds to the Felbridge area by bicycle with a big wicker basket on the front. Ted later went to work for Brackpool’s, the butchers near the Duke’s Head in Copthorne. To supplement the family income, Grace cleaned and took in lodgers, including land army girls who worked at the local poultry farm during the Second World War. The three boys all went to Felbridge School and joined in the village activities, all becoming members of the Lake View Drama and Social Club run by Mrs Charlesworth for the youth of Felbridge. [Further details in Fact Sheet Lake View Drama & Social Club, SJC 01/02]

Ted did not have the best of health and died at the relatively young age of sixty-one in April 1959, and was buried at All Saint’s Church, Crawley Down. Some time after the death of Ted, Grace applied for admission to Sackville College where she lived for nearly thirty years, before a series of falls forced her to be re-housed at The Walhatch in Forest Row, which provided residential care for people in later life. When The Walhatch closed in 2000, Grace moved to Silver Court, Halsford Park in East Grinstead where she died on 10th September 2003, one month before her 100th birthday. She was buried with Ted in All Saint’s Church, Crawley Down.

Today, the Binghams that remain in the Felbridge area descend from Ted and Grace, and the trade of carpenter that has been in the Bingham family for several generations is still carried by one of their grandchildren.

Allen Bingham’s Diary
A complete transcription of the Diary follows this short section of general information that helps to set the scene and put the contents of the Diary into perspective.

In 1892, Allen and Nell visited his sister Eliza and her husband Bill Gilmore who had emigrated to America some time between 1881 and 1891. The American Civil War, which had ended in 1865, some twenty-seven years before their visit, had resulted in the deaths of some 620,000 people during the four years that it raged. The Federal Union, under Abraham Lincoln, eventually defeated the Confederate States and approved the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 to abolish slavery, which had been the root cause of the war. Eliza and Bill had chosen to settle in Virginia, an area of America that witnessed several major offensives of the Confederate Army and surrender of General Lee at the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia in April 1865, one month before the end of the American Civil War. With the depletion of the American population came available land to settle and America would appear to have actively encouraged immigrants looking for land and a supposed ‘better life’. Indeed European countries were publishing journals of advice for those contemplating emigrating. One such publication in Britain was ‘Sidney’s Emigrant Journal – Information, Advice and Amusement for Emigrants and Colonizers’, and there was also the Emigrants Information Office within the Colonial Office. It is perhaps the hope of a ‘better life’ that tempted Eliza and Bill to emigrate, with a relatively young family, settling at Holmes Farm near Franklin, in Southampton County in the State of Virginia.

Allen and Nell’s trip started with a train journey to Liverpool Docks where they boarded the Steam Ship Aurania bound for New York. The ship was built in 1882 in Glasgow at J & G Thomson & Co. Aurania had a tonnage of 7,269 tons and was powered by a steam engine that gave her a speed of sixteen knots. She also had three masts and was rigged as a barque. The ship was owned by Cunard Steam Ships Co. Ltd. and was launched on 26th December 1882. She made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, stopping at Queenstown, N Ireland, on 23rd June 1883. It was not the best of maiden voyages arriving in New York on 4th July under sail and tow with disabled engines that had overheated on route. The Aurania was known as a badly rolling ship and was never popular. On average, her crossings took seven days, with her shortest crossing noted at six days six hours.

On arrival in America, Allen and Nell made their way by a combination of steamer, ferry, train and horse and buggy to their destination of Holmes Farm, near Franklin. The total length of the journey from Liverpool to Holmes Farm taking eleven days. Franklin had been incorporated as a Town in 1876, and was growing in population from 440 inhabitants in the 1880 census to that of 1,143 by the 1900 census. Franklin had a mild climate and being situated at the head of the navigable section of the Blackwater River, had been a centre of trade and transportation for the surrounding countryside, the area being mostly agricultural with some industry. Franklin had also become an important rail point between Norfolk and the Western Roanoke Basin. Holmes Farm lay some six miles outside Franklin. Today Holmes Farm is known as Old Holmes Farm and is situated on Highway 635, Black Creek Road, between Highway 611, Joyner’s Bridge, and Highway 706, Woods Trail Road. The most likely reason for the name – ‘Holmes’, is that James Holmes once owned or occupied the property. James Holmes died in 1879 and was buried on the farm, along with his wife Hannah who had previously died in 1856, being later joined by Mary I Holmes, (possibly a daughter), who died in 1911. The burial area is now classed as a small cemetery known as Holmes Cemetery.

The diary that Allen kept illustrates a wider world as seen through his eyes. Being a carpenter by trade and working with wood, Allen notes the types of timber and trees to be found in Virginia, and makes reference to making various things for Bill or the farm. Also, being the son of a farm bailiff, Allen notes the cycle of farming in America, the types of crops that were grown and the use of mules and equipment. He also notes the duties required of Bill as a farmer living on a Share Farm: ‘Bill has to cut out 1000 Fence Rails every year, also has to work on the roads for Government two days every year or pay a fine of 75 cents’. Allen noted that ‘When people have their Indian Corn ground at the mills, the miller keeps one gallon in lieu of payment, to the Bushel, many people live on corn bread and sweet potatoes’. This diet was supplemented in Eliza and Bill’s household by regular forays for game, with entries like ‘Shot my first quail … Nell eat it for dinner and said it was delicious’, and ‘Shot the first Virginian rabbit or Hare as the people here call them’.

Whilst staying with Eliza and Bill, Holmes’ Comet passed overhead and the four of them stood on the porch to watch it. Allen frequently commented on the weather and resulting conditions and on some days, far from helping his asthma, the ‘change of air’ was having a detrimental effect on his health, ‘Very thick weather and raw cold, Asthma very bad’. The diary also highlights the social conditions and customs, and Allen notes a range of different words and phrased used in America compared to their English equivalents: ‘Instead of saying I must carry up some water people here say I must tote up some water etc Guess, reckon, mighty also are favorite words with them. I was talking to a man one day about the great fall of Snow he said, Sir it’s a sight in the world (wurl) (whirl) if you tell them anything about our English roads or Farm & buildings they say I reckon or guess its mighty nice, instead of saying throw that dog, they say Chunk that dog, tolerable is also a favorite word if you ask after their heath etc, at meals if you ask them to take a Piece more, they say I won’t Choose any more, if a man has a sick wife & you ask after her health, he will say, She is mighty bad off to day, he will also call her the old hen often when talking of her, if you ask him if the Tobacco is good or anything in the eating & drinking line, his answer is, Sorta, instead of saying he is a bad man, he will say he is a mean man, the same with a Child instead of naughty Child it is a mean Child, people if driving on meeting a vehicle instead of pulling to the left they Pull to & Pass at the right, just the opposite way to which we drive in England, if a man has a lot of Hogs his friends say, he has a sight of Hogs, & if a Crop is poor, they say its mighty Sorry, but if the Crop gets damaged they say its blasted, any Bolts that have threads cut in them are called Screws, and a turn furrow or Rice Plough is called a turn mould Plough, the Plough share is called Plough Points, Whipons are called single tress, instead of saying Felloes of a wheel, they call it the ring, when about to land up a piece of ground, they say bed up a -----, instead of saying shelve or tip a Cart, they say Dump it’.

On the return journey from Franklin, Allen and Nell boarded the Steam Ship Dominion at Norfolk bound for New York before boarding the Steam Ship Etruria bound for Liverpool. The Dominion was built in 1873 at A McMillan & Son and was owned by the Dominion Line. She had a tonnage of 3,176 and for most of her life plied her trade between Liverpool and Quebec or Halifax in Canada. By the time Allen and Nell sailed on her she was near the end of her sea life being replaced by S/S Dominion 2 in 1894. The Steam Ship Etruria, on the other hand, was built in 1884 in Glasgow at John Elder & Co. and was bought by the Cunard Steam Ships Co. Ltd., being launched on 20th September 1884. Her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, via Queenstown, was on 25th April 1885. Etruria was built with a tonnage of 7,718 tons and was the sister ship of the Umbria. She had a straight stem, two funnels, masts, and was of steel construction powered by single screw propulsion with a triple expansion steam engine that gave her a speed of nineteen knots. This made the Etruria the faster of the two sister ships, making her average crossing time six days. However, in 1890, she was given a new tonnage of 8,120, followed by a re-fit in 1893, allowing her to accommodate 550 passengers in 1st class, 160 in intermediate class and 800 in steerage.

On arrival at East Grinstead station Allen wrote, ‘Found Father waiting on the Platform’, but according to family tradition, there was also a band to greet them, although Allen makes no mention of it. The following page states:
1893 Tuesday 23rd May
Started to clean the house bottom of Chestnut Trees, ready to move our Goods in some time this week.’
This then drew to a close Allen and Nell’s adventure to America, and is the beginning of the rest of their lifetime spent in Felbridge where they brought up five children and ensured that the Bingham family continued in Felbridge until the present day.


A Dictionary of English Surnames by Reaney & Wilson
Forest Row, vol.5 pt.3&4 by E Byford, FHA
Census Records 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, 1901, FHA
Parish Registers of St John the Divine, Felbridge, FHA
Felbridge Parish News, FHA
Account Book of George Gatty, Ref. SAY 2859, ESRO
CWGC Debt of Honour Register
Thomas Bingham’s family bible
Bingham Family Tree, FHA
A Dictionary of Trades, Titles and Occupations by C Waters
Fact Sheet, The Beef and Faggot Charity, SJC 03/03, FHA
Fact Sheet, Memorial Statues and Carvings of St John the Divine, 07/02iv, FHAFact Sheet, War Memorials of St John the Divine, SJC 07/02v, FHA
Fact Sheet, More Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine – Gatty Estate Workers, SJC 11/03, FHA
Discharge papers of R Bingham, 1920, FHA
Diary of Alan Bingham, FHA
Hamilton County Biographies,
S/S Aurania, S/S Dominion and S/S Etruria, Norway Heritage,
Story of the City of Franklin, Virginia,

Many thanks are extended to Rona Bingham, and Doug and Wendy Bingham for their information about the Felbridge Bingham family, Joy Chittenden and Jocelyn Biles for their contributions towards the production of the Bingham family tree, and Betty Salmon, Ann Hillman and Janet Davis for information about Grace Bingham.

SJC 01/05

The Diary of A W Bingham 1st October 1892, Liverpool

Saturday, Oct. 1st 1892, Journey to America started on the Tender from Docks at Liverpool at ½ Past one O clock, went out about 2 miles where the Cunard Ship ‘Aurania’ was lying at Anchor, Weighed Anchor at ½ past 5, took tea at 7 O clock, turned in our Cabin and went to Bed at ten, (Sunday Oct. 2nd,) up at six & on Deck for a pipe, Breakfast ½ Past 7, arrived in Cork Harbour, Queenstown ½ Past 8. Some of the Passengers went on Shore, others attended a Mass Meeting at ten, Beautiful weather, Irish people alongside in boats selling Shawls, Walking Sticks, pipes etc, at a very high Price, took in Queenstown passengers about ¼ to eleven, Dinner at ½ Past 12, Rice Soup, Roast Beef and baked potatoes, Boiled Turkey, Cheese, Plum Pudding, Apples, Plums, Oranges, Nuts.

No restrictions about hours on Deck, left Queenstown at ¼ to two, lost sight of land (Cape Clear), at ½ past seven, Ship began to rock at eight, owing to head wind and great ground Swell, Nell fell sick in Cabin at ½ Past 8, but soon recovered and had good night, but was Sick again in the morning before Breakfast, on Monday 3rd Not sick myself but had an attack of Asthma, rather severe, Ground swell still Continued, on Deck all the morning both Nell & I, Dinner one O clock, Roast Mutton, Turnips, Potatoes, Bottle of Beer, Rhubarb Pie, on Deck in Afternoon, tea at ½ Past 5, Singing & dancing on Deck in the Evening turned in Bed at 9, (Tuesday 4th) beautiful day, many quite recovered from Sea Sickness, but some Still Shaky, Nell quite well but like me very sleepy, laid on the Quarter Deck in Afternoon with rug round us and slept for an hour, (Dogs Sleep), the Crew hold a Concert on Deck in the evening, have only sighted one Ship all day.

(Wednesday 5th) heavy gale came on at 3 O clock in the morning, Kept on all day Waves Washed over the Deck, had to hold onto Ropes, our Irish Priest got washed off his feet & rolled about the Deck like a matchbox and cut his forehead open Several got wet through, Nell thought it best for her to stay below all day, but I enjoyed being up on the hatchway Steps, for it was so grand a sight, (Thursday 6th) Ground Swell & thick fog for about 4 hours. Fog Horn blowing every few minutes, Fog cleared & had nice afternoon, Some Singing in the Smoking Room, others in the Saloon Playing accordion & dancing in the Evening (not sick yet but have caught a cold both Nell & I) (Friday 7th) rough weather all day, Ship pitching fore & aft at fearful rate, Sighted two Cattle boats, Nell was taken bad in the evening about ½ past Six,

(Saturday 8th) Nell in bed all day but going all right, hoping to get up tomorrow, Stewardess very good indeed to her, gave Stewardess 3/- & 3/- to the Steward, for their kind attention, better weather today, Shall be glad to land, but Shall have about 30 hours on the Water between New York and Norfolk, Pilot came on board at 3 O clock, came out to meet us in a Sailing Yacht, rained hard just as he came on, we are about 400 miles from New York, (3 O clock) Same old game during the evening, Dancing and Singing, banjo in the Saloon.

(Sunday 9th) Very foggy from 2 O clock in the morning, continually Blowing Fog Horn up till 9 O clock had to Stop the engines twice to find out where other Ships were sounding Fog Horn, We had Service at ½ Past ten (Sort of half & half) between Church Service & Chapel, Some good Singing of Ancient & Modern hymns, very good dinner today & one Gentleman about 50 Years of age has taken a great fancy to Nell, because she has the same coloured hair as his wife (who is in California) he is making his way home now, he gave Nell a Bottle of Stout with her dinner, he sat opposite us at table all the journey & gave me a cigar occasionally, arrived within ½ an hour’s ride of New York at 5 O clock, Doctor came out to the Ship & we all had to pass an examination, we shall not be off the Ship until sometime tomorrow, they tell us to be up for breakfast ½ past 5.

(Monday 10th) arrived at the Docks at 7 O clock, passed the Customs officers with very little trouble, had to pay 2 & ½ Dollars to get luggage to the old Dominion Line Dock, then had to pay 16 Dollars to take Steamer Passage down to Norfolk, & one Dollar excess luggage, had dinner in New York for half Dollar, Roast Beef & Potatoes, Started off the Dock at 3 O clock, had Boiled Steak & fried potatoes, Peaches & tea at six, turned into our Cabin at 9 & had pretty good night, had to take First Class tickets on this boat to get a Cabin to ourselves, so we Sit at table with the Captain, Purser and 6 Gentlemen, only one Lady besides Nell & they Sit one on each Side of the Captain. (Tuesday 11th) Breakfast at eight, Fruit first, then boiled Chicken, Fish Cakes, Bacon, Liver, Coffee, lovely day (quite hot) arrived at Norfolk eight O clock in the evening after calling at Old Point Comfort, about 10 miles from Norfolk, no train to Franklin so must to Bed, (Mrs Peddle East Main Street) Paid one Dollar for Bed. (Wednesday12th) took ferry boat across to Portsmouth, (Horses attached to Carts go across on the Ferry boats), then took train on to Seaboard Air Line to Franklin (4 Dollars) ½ Past nine, arrived at Franklin about eleven, hired pair of horses & buggy to take us to Holmes Farm, the roads being so heavy (or rough) that one horse was not able to draw us with so much luggage, found Bill, Eliza and children quite well and happy.

American Customs, Scenery, Crops, Birds etc, Seen or Found in Virginia, Timber etc.
Timber very plentiful, therefore Cheap, Pitch pine forests for many miles, Oak of different kinds, Red Oak, White Oak, Post Oak, etc, White Beech, Polar, White & Black Gum, Magnolias trees, Dog Wood, Holly different from English the leaf more smooth and the berrys smaller, Mistletoe abundant growing principally on Black Gum trees, Mahogany, Hickory, althea Rose of Sharon, Rosemary Pine, Walnut, Selwood, Pecan, Mimosa, Sugar Maple, Pairidise, Aspen, Sycamore, Tulip Tree, Cedar, Wild Cherry, Locust, Weeping or Curled Willow, Crape Myrtle, pomegranate, Smoke Wood, Ash, Catelba, Chestnut, Chickapin, Birch, Vanilla Shrub, Sinamon Bushes, Cyprus, Huckleberry Bushes, Pinsimon Trees, Mulberry trees, Calacanthus, Snow Ball, Arborbitae, Reeds, horses very fond of them and the Coloured people use the reeds for Pipe Stems, Virginia Creeper, Cowitch or Trumpet Flower, Sassasafris,

Birds, Buzzards in large quantities which eat up all the Animals etc, that die, the fine for shooting one of these 5 Dollars, the Blue Bird, Red Bird, Quails, Wild Turkeys, Robins as large as English Blackbirds, Yellow Ammer, Whipper Will, Humming bird, Canaries, Snow Bird, Flying Squirrels, Cat Bird, Eagles, Mocking bird, Sap Sucker, Wrens, Red Heads nearly as large as the Buzzards, which is about the size of an English Turkey, Fish and Chicken Hawks, Racoons, Opossum, Foxes, Deers, Bears, which people call Hogbears, Beavers, which live principally up in the North, Screech Owls, Bats, Pigeons, like our Doves, Swamp Robins are very pretty, Black, White and Red, nearly as big as Starling. There are also two sorts of Sap Sucker, the largest has a Red tuft on his head.

A great number of Mules are worked on Farms and in Road Cars, Buggys, Waggons, Dump Carts etc, the principle Crops are Indian Corn, Peanuts, Rice, Tobacco, Sweet Potatoes, Wheat, Turnips, Butter Beans, Cornfield Peas, Cabbage, few Irish Potatoes, Pumpkins, Water Melons, Musk Melons, Strawberrys, Citron, Tomatoes, Beetroot, Red pepper, Cucumbers, Lima or Bunch Beans, Cotton, Millet, food for horses as greenmeat, Cumphrey, Garden Peas, Snaps, something like Dwarf Beans in England, Onions, Sugar Cane, Broomstraw, great quantities of Dog Weed, Wood Grapes, Peaches, Apples, Pears, Fox Grapes, which trail on Fences, which People call Snake Fences,

Journeys that I have been with W Gilmore, etc, (Roughly like the rest of my notes)
Jerusalem about 8 miles from Holmes Place, Black Creek about 5 miles, Franklin 6 miles, Joiner’s Bridge in Isle of White County 3 miles, Nell and I walked one Sunday afternoon.

We all went to Franklin Church one Sunday morning, but the Service is very different to our English Church Service, and again on another Sunday went to a Quaker Church at Black Creek (5 miles from Holmes Place) We Sat for half an hour before the Spirit moved any of the Quakers then Miss S Harris was moved to quote that verse in Psalms, 6h that men would Praise the Lord, & Preached a Sermon on it.

Snakes, insects which I have seen or heard of, Mocassin, about 3 feet 6 inches long, Copper coloured with black rings, very thick, both water & Island Mocassin, the Black Snake from 5 to 6 feet long, Scaled like a fish, they go blind in Winter months, Green Snake, Chicken Snake, Ring Snake Red & Black, from five to six feet long, Jointed Snake, Spreading Adder, Hoop Snake, Horse Whip Snake, Scorpians, Lizzards, Ground Puppy shaped like a Lizzard but blood red, Locust, Timber Bug, Grasshoppers, Manure Bug, Fire Flies, Lightning Bugs, Glow Worms, July Bug, Rain Frogs, Greenbacks, Bull Frogs, Turtles & Tortoise, Terripins, & Terripin Bugs.

I read in the Chicago Blade (Decr 7th/92) the name of the Comet, was Holmes Comet. Saw a Comet Start from the West & travel very fast to the East at 10 minutes past 9 in the evening. Wonderful Pretty Light, Bill, Eliza Nell & I watched it from the back Porch.

I bought of Stone & Fowler, Timber Merchants, 7 feet of Pitch Pine board 22 inches Wide ¾ Thick, 12 feet 9 inches Wide 1 ½ Thick & 12 feet 5 inches Wide ¾ Thick for 30 Cents (15 Pence in English coin) made a Fancy worked Wash-stand & Clothes horse out of it, Made a Waggon for Winnie the baby out of a Plank of Board 14 inches wide 1 inch Thick, which Bill had Stowed away, Cut the Wheels from a Sweet Gum Tree, Went to Mr John Harris’s with Bill (Black Creek) & bought Timber to build him a cart, good Pitch Pine Timber & board all for 1 Dollar & a quarter, also some Oak 4 x 2 for framing back & front of cart, comenced making the Cart on the 27th of January 1893.

November 17th/92
Started to repair a Cook House for Bill, which we are about to move closer to the dwelling house, after moving it we shall new Shingle the roof etc, then put up a platform from dwelling house to Cook house with roof to it, Mr Robert Harris finds Timber & we do the labour, (finished the Cook House on Decr 6th/92,) Went to Franklin on the 7th with 3 bags of Peanuts weight 277 lbs the lot, Posted or Mailed a letter to Father & Mother, Asthma very bad in the morning but got better after 12 O clock, had some Irish Potatoes for the first time to day for dinner, since we have been in Virginia.

Bill has to cut out 1000 Fence Rails every Year (& all farmers that live on Share Farms,) also has to Work on the Roads for Government 2 days every Year or Pay a fine of 75 Cents, He hires a Mule of Mr John Prettow Franklin, for 20 Dollars Per Year.

Nov 18th, we had a very bad Storm Wind & rain (cyclone) took great branches off the trees & carried them a long way, drove one through the Cook house window, lasted about ¾ of an hour, & took the Fence rails off like as if they were matches, went out with the Gun & dog in afternoon,

Decr 4th, Nell & I saw our first Red Bird, they are the prettiest bird I ever saw I think, about as large as our English Starling.

Nell, Eliza, the baby Winnie & I went to Mr Robert Harris House to tea with him one evening & then to Berean Mission Room after, they hold a meeting at 7 O clock every Wednesday evening & again on Sunday afternoon’s at 3 O clock, read a Chapter from the bible & then ask one another the meaning of each verse etc, Sing a Couple of Hymns, (it is nothing more than a Sunday School like the Children have at Felbridge on Sunday mornings before Service time,) Berea is about 2 miles from Holmes Place,

Ploughing or breaking up land comences in January, Plant Corn in April, Pea Nuts in May, Sweet Potatoes in May, Pea Nuts from the time they are Planted until ready to Plough up require the Plough running through them 7 times, (Bill grew a little over 300 Bushels this year on ten acres of land.) his Indian Corn was not very good, the Spring was to Wet for Corn, Indian Corn is planted 4 feet apart each way, & Peanuts 3 feet between the ridges 1 foot 2 inches between each Plant. When People have their Indian Corn ground at the mills, the miller keeps one gallon in lieu of payment, to the Bushel, many people live on corn bread & Sweet Potatoes.

Nell & I were chased by a Pig one Evening, it was very dark & I had nothing to guard myself with, so I kicked but found I should get my leg bitten, for the Pig had run the Woods until it was like a Wild Hog. At last Nell picked up her Skirts & ran to a fence & I ran too & just managed to get away clear, when the Pig found it could not get at us it snapped its Jaws together & tore up the ground furiously,

Decr 13th, Mr R Harriss told me to day that he had a pig taken Ill in one of his fields & that the Buzzards was pecking at his eyes, he Mr Harriss drove them away & put the pig in a Shelter, the Pig is much better now, but he would have lost it if he had not driven the Buzzards away, Bill Shot a cat & threw it into his field but the Buzzards will not eat cats or Hawks.

Decr 14th, Very thick fog, this makes the Sixth or 7th fog that we have had since we came out. I went out in the Woods about 11 O clock to see Mr Harris’s men Haul trees out of the Swamps, with two Mules & Timber Waggon, Some of the Logs weighed about a ton & half, 16 feet long & 2 ft 4 in through, it amused me very much to hear the driver (Dick Bradshall) talk to the Mules, (let me See how you get out here) etc, at the Top of his voice, I never saw horses pull better than these Mules, instead of saying whoa, to Stop them the driver said Yoi, & while going, if not fast enough he would whistle a dog at home, I wished often this day that I had got Hoppus’s Measure with me so that I could find out exactly how many feet of Timber there was in each Log.

Decr 15, Very thick weather & raw Cold, Asthma very bad.

Decr 16, Foggy in the morning rain Afternoon & Evening, Made a Cart Saddle or Pad as we call them at home, for Bill’s Mule, Polar & Post Oak. One Leather band about 3 inches wide, serves as back & Belly Band fastens on to the Cart Shaft, Just a wood Pin drove into it, & hole cut in the Band, the lugs are little leather Strips twisted once round each other & they are put round a Pin which You take out of the Shaft when Hitching up.

Decr 25th, Christmas day, Very Cold, stayed at home all day, had a couple of Chicken & Piece of Beef for dinner, did not have any visitors. Decr 26th, Boxing day went down to Franklin to see who won the 55 Dollar worth of Furniture, I took 20 tickets that was given me for the draw at the time that I bought my Furniture, but I had not got the winning number & we could not find out who had the Winning Ticket.

It came on to Snow very fast at 10 O clock on the 26th Boxing day evening, kept on until next night about the same time, I measured it with rule & found it was 11 inches thick, & in some places it was drifted 1 ft 6 in deep, (Decr 29th) Snow still lies as thick as ever I went out with the Gun & Shot one Blue Bird, one Sap Sucker, two Robins, People eat these Robins which are like our Redwings or Fieldfares, I never knew such a sharp Frost as we had this night, it froze the water in the Wash Jug in our Bedroom & Froze drops of Water at the Well in about 5 minutes while drawing up a bucket full,

Back & Belly Band Combined 10 feet long 3 inches wide & ⅜ or ¼ thick,

It is the Custom here If anyone is taken for death, some of their relations or Friends go & buy a suit of grave clothes, a complete outfit from head to toe, and they are buried in the Woods on the Farms, dig the grave large enough to take a Case to Put the Coffin in, the Top of the Case is about 2 feet from the surface of the ground, People here turn their Pictures face to the Walls on the day of the funeral, and they keep their house open to all comers, who go all over the house, Just to see all they can,

January 18th, Shot my first quail while Nell & I were going to Bowers Post Office, Nell eat it for dinner on 19th & said that it was delicious.

January 9th /93, Made a Mallet of Beech Wood in the morning, went into the woods in Afternoon Bird Shooting, Snow still lies & the birds are getting more tame, Wind blowing very strong in the Evening from SouthWest, January 11th Shot the first Virginian rabbit or Hare as the people here call them, it was running very swiftly through some small Pine shrubs, I had at the time my handsaw under my left arm & the Gun halfcocked under the right, so I had to drop the Saw cock the Gun & shoot in a big hurry, but I managed to knock him over dead, January 19th Snow fell from last night up till 11 O clock to day 19th there is 11 inches of Snow lying & still looks like more to come.

January 24th, Weather a little warmer Snow melting, January 30th 31st & February 1st, Lovely weather & quite hot in the Sun.

Instead of saying I must carry up some water people here say I must tote up some water etc Guess, reckon, mighty also are favorite words with them. I was talking to a man one day about the great fall of Snow he said, Sir it’s a sight in the world (wurl) (whirl) if you tell them anything about our English roads or Farm & buildings they say I reckon or guess its mighty nice, instead of saying throw that dog, they say Chunk that dog, tolerable is also a favorite word if you ask after their heath etc, at meals if you ask them to take a Piece more, they say I won’t Choose any more, if a man has a sick wife & you ask after her health, he will say, She is mighty bad off to day, he will also call her the old hen often when talking of her, if you ask him if the Tobacco is good or anything in the eating & drinking line, his answer is, Sorta, instead of saying he is a bad man, he will say he is a mean man, the same with a Child instead of naughty Child it is a mean Child, people if driving on meeting a vehicle instead of pulling to the left they Pull to & Pass at the right, just the opposite way to which we drive in England, if a man has a lot of Hogs his friends say, he has a sight of Hogs, & if a Crop is poor, they say its mighty Sorry, but if the Crop gets damaged they say its blasted, any Bolts that have threads cut in them are called Screws, and a turn furrow or Rice Plough is called a turn mould Plough, the Plough share is called Plough Points, Whipons are called single tress, instead of saying Felloes of a wheel, they call it the ring, when about to land up a piece of ground, they say bed up a -----, instead of saying shelve or tip a Cart, they say Dump it.

I was at a Plough in Franklin one day & found it was called the Boss Plow, so people spell Plough, Plow, I find this is quite right out here, I also have noticed on boards nailed on the Pine trees by the side of the roads (Cary Four eggs to Northfleet, Franklin, instead of carry) A coloured man came & asked Bill & I one day while Bill was Mauling Rails for his Fences, if he could direct him to Franklin & also begged some matches, these are the words he used, Good Evening two Boss’es which road to Franklin, have either you Boss got match to light Pipe, after he had lit his Pipe, Well farewell you two Boss.

Feby 3rd, Very thick fog until 3 O clock in afternoon, then for a week nothing but rain in torrents night & day almost without ceasing, the roads in a terrible rough state, Clay & sand run together like mortar, the mules & horses sinking in up to their knees, walking impossible in some places.

Febr 12th, Bill, Eliza, three of the Children Nell & I went to Black Creek Baptist Church Service, started at ten o’clock & back home at ½ past two for dinner, rain again came on about ten minutes after we had got home, Maggie & Ethel went to Mr Harris’s to spend Sunday with them & some lady boarders from New York, miss Bancroft’s by name.

Swamps are filled up with water some of them are so full that you have to wade in water up to your knees in order to reach the 7 in Planks which foot passengers have to walk on to pass (cross) these Swamps.

Febr 20th /93, Bill took Nell & I in Mule cart to Courtlands (Jerusalem) as it was a big Court day we went into the Court Room & heard one case, two Colored men was sentenced to 6 years penetentiary for breaking into a store somewhere not far from Weldon, it was the most one sided case I ever heard, the Jury retired for 20 minutes & come back & passed this sentence 6 Years, & all they worked on was that one of the prisoners said they made a fire of lighty Chips, the lawyer said it was snowing on the same evening & 18 inches lying on the ground, was it possible for a man to find lighty Chips to build a fire in the wood, with so much Snow lying (certainly not) some meal was found on one of their shoulders & some meal was lost from the Store so the mealmark on Shoulder I think really condemned them, but fancy 6 years, why at home 6 months would have been more like it, & much more clear evidence given, the Jury, Magistrate, Usher, Witness’s etc, were all Chewing & spitting, some sweet gum & others tobacco, when the police man (Constable) took the prisoners to Jail close by the Court house, he carried a pair of 6 Chamber revolvers one in each hand, and the storekeepers son also carried one revolver which the Constable handed to him in Court.

Febr 27th /93, Nell & I went to Suffolk 25 miles from Franklin, got on the Cars at Franklin ½ Past eight, tickets cost us 2$ 80 Cents so railway travelling is dearer than at home, Suffolk is rather a pretty Place, We went expressly to change 20£ into American Money, at the Farmers Nansemond Bank, we had to lose one Dollar only in changing, 95$ instead of 96$, on going to Suffolk the train ran over a Cow & Cut it into Pieces, the train was Stopped & some of the Passengers ran back down the line to See if it was what they feared (a Woman) but I’m glad to say it was a Cow.

There is a very nice Cemetery in Suffolk, Nell & I Spent an hour looking at the Granite Grave Stones, Such a lot of Granite & Marble, at one end of the Cemetery there is a lot of Grave Boards where they have buries far comers, & on one of them is this inscription,
Arthur Lee
A Painter of Brighton, England
Died at the Nansemond House
Suffolk Virginia, July 15th/91
Aged about 38 years

Saturday March 4th, Snowing hard all day & intensely Cold,

Feby 8th/93, Sent off by registered letter to V H Brown Agent for The Cunard S S Company New York 20$ deposit for Passage home on the S Ship Etruria Sailing on 1st April at 5/30 am,

March 7th, received receipt from Cunard. S.S Company, for 20$ Deposit, as Passage in Etruria,

Friday March 17th, Sent off letter to Old Dominion Line Agents in Norfolk, asking what time they had a Steamship Starting from Wharf in Norfolk, going to New York,

March 17th, received letter from Father & Mother, Eliza also received two from them. Snowing hard all day Snow laid until Sunday Afternoon.

Wednesday March 15th/93, Nell caught a Mud Turtle in a Swamp & brought it home in her hankerchief, Bill cut its head off with an axe, we are going to try & clean it so that we can bring it home, I went to Plough one day with Bill, I could hold one of These Ploughs quite easy after ½ an hours practice, Bill Ploughed up a Spreading Adder Such lovely Colours but very Poisonious, we Killed it after having a thorough look at it, Friday March 24th, Sent a letter to Father & Mother, we had not been home more than half an hour before we had a heavy Thunderstorm, I never saw such a rain in my life, we could not see one hundred yard through the rain, & the lightning also was very sharp, in the morning we had a very thick fog until about ten o’clock

Saturday 25th, very warm in the morning, but dull, went to Franklin for provisions, Labels (or Shipping Tags) as they are called in Virginia, when in Franklin we saw two men (dealers in Mules horses etc) both of them were Englishmen one from Yorkshire & the other was born in Liverpool, the tall man from Liverpool had been in America for 26 Years without going to England but the short one had been home 7 Years ago, he had been in America altogether 13 Years, neither of them could stay in Virginia, but spoke well of New York State & Pennsylvania, rain came on again at 3 o’clock in afternoon & got worse towards night, lightning & Thunder at 9 o’clock & rain kept on nearly all night.

Sunday 26th, very dull & turned much colder, Monday 27th, very cold Wind Nell washed our Clothes out of doors as is the usual custom here, I went to the Store & Post Office, & received a letter from Father & Mother, (Tuesday 28th) finished packing our Boxes in the morning & went to the Atlantic & Danville depot in afternoon, with all of our heaviest Baggage.

Wednesday 29th of March, Started from Holmes Place, in the County of Southampton in the State of Virginia, United State America, at ½ Past 12 O clock Noon, Bill drove us down to the Atlantic & Danville Depot at Franklin, Railway Cars left the Depot at 20 minutes past 3 O clock & reached Portsmouth at 5 O clock, then we got on the Ferry boat & was Ferried across to Norfolk, then at 6 O clock we went on Board of the Ship Dominion, the largest of the Old Dominion Line Steam Ships, Steam Ship left the Wharf at 8 O clock, Nell was rather Sick & Ill until we reached New York Docks at 9 O clock on Thursday night & was allowed to sleep on the Ship until 6 O clock on Good Friday Morning, we went to an eating house & had breakfast & then to Bowling Green Cunard Line office, to pay balance of Passage money, I did not think New York was half so nice a place as London, we did not have any dinner but walked about in the Cunard Wharf from about ½ Past 12 until 7 O clock before Passengers were allowed on Board of the Etruria,

April 1st/93, left New York Docks at ½ Past 5 a m, had fair winds on Voyage until Wednesday night, then had head winds the rest of Voyage, Sea was rather rough for about 23 or 24 hours one Seaman was Sweeping Decks about 6 or 7 Yards from where Nell & I was standing when on a Sudden the Steamer Shipped a heavy Sea & he was washed off his legs, cut his head badly & broke his Collar bone in two places, Neither Nell & I got wet for we sprang up on Some Iron Work & held tight until the Water had run off the Deck, Neither Nell or I lost one meal all the Voyage & could not scarcely leave the table until we were ashamed of ourselves, arrived at Queenstown at 6 O clock on Friday evening & left again before Seven, arrived in Dock Princess landing Stage Liverpool on a Tender which came out to fetch Passengers from the Etruria, which we left 10 miles out at Sea, landed at ½ Past 10, was in the Custom House until ¼ to one, one Woman had to Pay two Pounds for trying to Smuggle Tobacco, got on a train at Lime Street Station at 2 O clock & came on to Willesden Changed & took train to East Croydon, then Changed & took train for E Grinstead, which we reached all safe at 10 minutes to nine & found Father waiting on the Platform thinking perhaps we might come in by that train.